Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Didn't Quite Make It

I finished the month with just over 40,000 words written. I wouldn't have done that much if my best buddy, Chris, hadn't helped me over a rough patch in the story. With his help, though, I broke through the block and so I was able to add over 3,000 words tonight. I killed off the major baddie, revealed the answer to the big mystery and only have a few thousand words left to finish the rough draft. I think it all hangs together pretty well, but there will be a lot of rewriting left to do when I finish. At least the first draft is almost done, and if I didn't quite meet either of my goals... writing 50,000 words or finishing the first draft... I am closer to finishing than I would ever have gotten without those goals to push me to write. I actually enjoyed writing tonight, once I got started, and remembered why I like writing at all. The last week or so has been torture as I keep hitting snags. I need to remember to ask Chris when that happens next time. I can hardly believe I have 90,000 words towards my novel. How exciting is that??

Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeling like a failure

It's the 26th and I've only written 35,500 words this month. I have no chance of finishing on Wednesday, not without missing a couple of days from work, and probably not even then. I am glad I got that much done, but I let myself down. I should have written more this weekend. I should have written more, period. It was a lot easier to write in November, probably because it was the early part of the book and the stakes weren't so high. Now I'm at the end of the book and I want it to be perfect. That's slowing me down more than any other factor. I wish I could just finish this thing and get on to the rewrite stage. I am going to hate this book before I'm done if this keeps up.

Onto other things... After playing with Harley and the laser pointer he came up lame the next day. He must have hurt his foot while running around in the dark. He wouldn't put his foot on the ground most of the next day and was still limping into the following day. I guess that wasn't as good an idea as I thought it was.

I took him out with me yesterday to try sledding for the first time. We had about 4-5 inches of snow and it was good, wet snow so it was really slick. He liked it when I let him run around, chasing me, but he didn't like riding on the sled. On the other hand, he jumped on Dad's back, and rode him down to the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately, I had already put the camera away, so I didn't get that taped. The snow is already mostly melted today, so no more sledding. I hope we get one more sledding day this year. Last year we only had two sledding days. I want more!

I finally saw the finale of Beauty and the Geek tonight. My favorite guy, Nate, lost, but he was happy about it. He felt that the only way that his horrible partner (my word, not his) could learn anything from the experience would be if she lost. So he told all of the housemates to vote for the other team. I love that boy. What a great heart he has.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Harley Stories

I have two Harley stories tonight. First, I took Harley outside with me when I went to get my iPod out of my car. Harley is a fun dog and we love him to bits, but he has one really bad flaw. When he sees something moving, he chases it, whether it's a rabbit, a bird, a butterfly, or a car. Since we have no fence, that gets dangerous. Usually he is leashed outside, either tethered just outside of the door or on a leash when he is walking with me. Unfortunately, that means he doesn't get very much exercise except when Dad takes the dogs out to play fetch. Tonight, I wanted him with me, but I didn't want to put him on leash, so I tried something different.

I took the laser pointer outside with me, which he loves, and distracted him with it. He ignored everything but that laser dot, and because it was dark, he could see it better than ever. He was having so much fun that I started swinging the pointer in bigger and bigger arcs, and before I knew it, he was racing from one end of our yard to the other. So, I took him down to Mom's art studio and the students stood at the back door and watched him chase that thing as far as I could make it go and back. He probably ran half a mile or more, just running back and forth after the laser. By the time I was tired, he was panting, but still wanting more. I decided to stop while he was still enjoying himself. I think we have found a new way to get his exercise.

Mom and Dad bought me Nintendogs for Christmas, but they weren't able to find the Nintendo DS Lite anywhere. We have been looking for it ever since, and today Mom found one. I played with a little Sheltie puppy I named Penny (after my Sheltie that died last March) and it was loads of fun.

Harley, however, hates it. It has a voice recognition feature and you teach the dog its name and some commands. It freaked Harley out when I talked to the virtual puppy. He got very jealous and climbed up on my chest, putting himself between my face and the game. I have never seen him like that. I finally put the game away and played with him. What else could I do?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Slogging On

I'm trying not to think about word counts tonight. I'm so far behind that it will take a miracle for me to finish my goal. I'm trying to focus on finishing my book instead. This thing is like the neverending story. It keeps growing and growing and growing (kinda like my waistline.)

If I ever finish this thing, and that's a big if, it's going to be a lot longer than I had originally planned. That's not a bad thing, as long as it's well written. I hesitate to go back and read it for fear I'll find out it's all crap. I know, I know, every writer goes through this, at a certain point we all hate our own stories and think we're hacks. But, we can't all be wrong, can me? Some of us have to suck. For every Diana Gabaldon or Diane Duane or Dianna Wynne Jones there are a thousand, even a hundred thousand wannabes. (What is it about the name Diane, anyway. I just realized that my main character's name is a form of the shared first name of three of my favorite authors... weird. I need an Edgar, an Isaac and a Georgette now, too.)

Ok, I'm rambling, enough for tonight. Time to take Harley and go see if I can dream up another story idea that will torture me while I try to put it on paper.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Lot of Work

If I had realized how much work it was going to be to write this book, I am not sure if I would have had the courage to start it. Even now, more than 76,000 words into it, I am not sure I have what it takes to finish it. Somewhere along the way I began to enjoy part of the process, though, and I can only hope that with more practice, it will get easier and I can spend more time enjoying the writing and less time agonizing over every word.

Every time I think I have the end of the book planned out, I realize that I need to add or change some of the details. Each time I do that, I am positive that THIS time I have it, this time I am ready to finish the book. Then, I write a few thousand words and realize something is missing or isn't going to work. Tonight I'm in the positive end of that cycle. I sat down with my mom, then my dad, and then with my bestest friend, Chris, and outlined the ending. I still have to actually write it, but now I have a definite plan and I am feeling good about it. To celebrate, I took the evening off and watched TV and played Freecell. Word count, schmerd count, right?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

2,700 Words

2,700 Words... that's how many I need to write every day between now and the end of the month to make my goal of 50,000 in February. I was sick most of this last week and so I did no writing. Yesterday my computer broke down and I spent 12 hours getting it working again. Needless to say, I didn't get any writing done then. I wrote 5,700 today, so that helped me catch up a little bit, but I'm still about 9,000 words behind schedule. At this point I will be happy just to finish the first draft, whether I hit my word count or not. I am close, but at the moment I have them written into a corner, literally, and I haven't figured out how to get them out. I think I'll sleep on it and see what my dreams come up with. They might as well help me rescue them, since it was a dream that gave me the idea for this book in the first place.

I was very tempted to quit on the whole idea of writing this last week. I hate getting so depressed and dreary. It always looks so lame and ridiculous when I look back on it, but at the time the feelings are so intense and real that there is nothing remotely funny about it. I think I need better drugs... the legal kind of course.

You know what I love? Ice cream in winter. Doesn't it just make you smile? I prefer it to ice cream in summer because it doesn't melt so fast and you can enjoy it longer. Of course, some people think it's too cold, but cold doesn't bother me. We've had temperatures in the low teens around here, and I have only worn my coat once. Then again, I did end up sick last week. Maybe there is a connection. Nah....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Day Off

I did not call in yesterday to make sure our office was closed when every other business, government office and school in the state was shut down from the snow and ice. I would have, but I was sick and fell asleep and I didn't wake up until noon. Today, I called in sick and found out that our office did not close yesterday, so I was AWOL. I could not reach my boss so I just left a message. Now I have to go back tomorrow and hope he is not pissed at me for not calling on Tuesday and not going in today. I was sick, but there is a good chance he won't believe me.

I get sick a lot, and I hate having to take off from work. I always feel like my bosses think I'm faking, even though I am not. If I were, I would come up with a much better story than "I was sick." I never even got dressed today, did not set foot outside (always a good choice when I don't get dressed) and barely moved from in front of my computer all day. Yesterday I slept almost all day, and I should have slept more today. In fact, that's what I am going to go do now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bad Day

I got my day off. The ice storm shut everything down and I stayed home from work. I should have gone in. Stupid drama, I hate it.

On another note, I don't think I can write this book. I have been fooling myself. There are people who follow through and people who just talk a good game. Right now, I'm the kind of people who don't do anything.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bummed

I really wanted a lot of snow, but we haven't gotten it. The big bosses told us we could go home at 2:00, but I was the only one in my department who had left by the time I got out of there at 2:30. The drive home was uneventful, there was not much snow, just a lot of ice. The roads I drive on are mostly freeways, though so they were all clear. Maybe a miracle will happen and the snow will pile up overnight, giving me a snow day. It won't happen, but I can dream.

I have been teaching HTML on my lunch hour at work and last week one of my coworkers came to me and asked if I could help her with a website for the ice cream parlor she and her husband own. The two gals in my HTML "class" agreed to help her and so we created her site. You can see it here... Carousel's Ice Cream. She's pretty happy with it and she is going to give it to her husband as a Valentine's Day gift. I guess if I can't have love of my own I can contribute to someone else's. (bit of self pit there, ya think?)

I have been watching Beauty and the Geek and I am happy that Nate is going to the finals tomorrow night. I like him so much. He reminds me of my old friend, Chris. He's kind and unassuming and yet very sexy. Unfortunately, his partner in the game is a selfish, mindless, thoughtless, classless loser and if he wins she wins. I don't know whether to root for Nate or root against CeeCee. Maybe there could be a compromise, Nate wins and CeeCee gets hit by a bus. That works for me.

I got only 1500 words done yesterday and just over 400 today. I'm going to have to throw all of that out, too, which stinks. But, according to the rules, even if I can't use it, it counts. The ending of this stupid book is taking longer to write than half of the rest of the book. While I was driving home tonight, I came up with another solution to some of the problems I'm having with the ending. I should have come home and started writing while I was still excited, but first there was dinner, and then we watched TV and then I watched more TV and now it's almost 10:00 and all I've accomplished is emptying out some of the shows on my TiVo. I get so mad at myself. It's like when you know you shouldn't have those cookies, but you just can't stop. Then all of your hard work gets wasted. That's the story of my life. Wanna read it?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Let it Snow

They are predicting snow and ice over the next 24-48 hours. I am hoping for enough of it that I can stay home and sled with Harley. I don't think it will happen though. Can you imagine being one of those people stuck in 11 feet of snow right now?? I love snow, but that's too much even for me. Besides, you can't sled in that much snow. A good foot or two would be about right. Enough to keep me home from work but not so much that I can't sled. I bought Harley a new sweater tonight to keep him warm over the next few days. It has a snowman and a puppy on it and he looks so cute in it. Of course, he looks cute in everything. I'll try to get a picture but right now it's two hours past my bedtime.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weekend Over - Still Behind

I can't believe the weekend is over already. I got about 3,500 words done today so I'm still over two days behind. I just couldn't write anymore. I'm not sure of the exact number because I spent a lot of time rewriting some of it so that it would fit better with my new ending. I'm at 17,600 words or so for the month so far and over 70,000 on the book overall.

I quit around five or six and spent the rest of the night updating my LibraryThing list. I had ordered a Cue Cat from them. It is a barcode reader thingie, and all I have to do is pass it over the barcode on my books, and it adds them to my list. I have over 400 books in my list now and I haven't even really gotten started. Most of the books I added tonight are the joke, trivia and quote books that I keep near my computer for the Giggles. Soon I want to take the laptop into my bedroom and scan in all of the fiction and writing reference books as well as the other odds and ends I keep in there. I don't know why I'm spending all of this time, except it is fun in a very geeky way.

I feel bad that I did not make my word goal today, but on the plus side, I finally watched the Lost episodes that have been sitting on my TiVo since November. Now, if I can only get caught up on Desperate Housewives...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Plotting More Writing

I thought last Saturday that I had worked out all of the plotting I would need to finish the book. But in the last couple of days I realized that my pacing was off. When I finished last night's section with them stopping to take a nap only a sections from the climax, I knew that I had a problem. Mom and I went out to Olive Garden and talked about the problems. She claims she is not a writer, but my mom is clever and creative and we managed to rethink the ending sequence. I am excited because I think this ending is going to work well.

I have had trouble getting my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard, but I finally started writing about 6 tonight. I got 3,845 words written, bringing the total for this month to 14,152. I am only 3,705 words behind schedule. If I manage to get more than 4,000 words done tomorrow, I will be less than a full day's writing behind. It would take 5,491 to get my completely caught up. I know, too many numbers. Did I mention that I used to be an accountant?

The story is getting pretty exciting. I wish I could share it with you, I would love your feedback, but you may have to wait until it goes on sale to read it. At the rate I work, that could be a decade or so. You won't mind waiting, will you?

I put a little content on the 30Stories30Days.com website, but I am just testing out some applications. I may move it to this server, I have to talk to my friend and see if he has room for another of my websites. I am pretty sure I will be doing that challenge in April. Any of you thinking about joining me? It is less of a volume commitment than NaNoWriMo, but it will take more creativity as you will have to come up with 30 plots, 30 sets of characters, 30 settings, etc. You might want to start jotting down ideas but remember, you shouldn't start writing until the day the challenge starts. There are no prizes if you finish, but I would be happy to give you a certificate showing that you did it. :)

I should be getting to bed, I have a lot of writing to do tomorrow, but I am waiting for my dad to get home. He's been in Cuba all week and should be home in about ten minutes. Mom and I have missed him, but maybe not as much as the dogs have. They love their grandpa.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Friday!

Last night's blog didn't make much sense, and I should change it, but I'm just as tired tonight so I'm going to leave it alone. I managed to write 1,821 words tonight. I quit in the middle of a scene because I am just too tired to care. I am sure Mom will holler at me in a minute when she gets to that point, but she'll just have to wait until tomorrow. I am not very happy with what I wrote tonight and I may have to redo part of it in the morning. That's ok, maybe in the morning I will love it. You really never know.

I registered a new domain name today. It's 30stories30days.com. Want to guess what it is for? I can't remember, have I mentioned the idea I had that I want to try after I finish this book? I want to write 30 stories (of 1,000+ words each) in 30 days. I thought that maybe I could convince some other crazy writers to join me and, if so, that website could be our home. Don't bother checking out the site tonight, it has nothing on it so far. I will let you know when it has content on it, and if you want to give the 30 stories idea a try, just say the word. Crazy folk should stick together... just look at most families.

*There is Mom hollering now!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Week Two

I have been blogging for just over a week so far and, not so coincidentally, today is the first day of the second week of my second "Write a Novel in a Month" month.

To write 50,000 words in February requires an average of 1,786 words a day. That means that I should have 14,288 words done by now. I finished tonight with 2,141 words, so I am now at 8,486, leaving me 5,802 behind schedule. I'm gaining! I actually wrote 2400+ words today, but somehow lost a chunk of over 300 words. When I'm this far behind, every word counts.

If it seems like I am obsessed with quantity over quality, it is because I am. The thing is, I am such a perfectionist when I am writing that if don't force myself to write this way, I spend so long agonizing over each word, each phrase and each sentence, that I give up and don't write at all. Besides, without a definite deadline, I am so lazy that I would get nothing done. This way, I write down the bare thread of the story in a relatively short amount of time, and then I can go back and fix it all later. Since plotting and maintaining a narrative thread is what I find most difficult, it frees me up in rewriting to concentrate on the finer points, like believable dialogue, good grammar and honest characterizations.

Speaking of the latter, I had an argument today with a coworker who agrees that Tolkien is too bogged down with detail to be interesting but disagrees that the core reason the books are boring is because the characters aren't believable or engaging. Ah well, as she says, we will agree to disagree. (As long as we both know I am right, I am okay with that.) This is the same friend who gets annoyed because I say that I do not argue unless I am right. She thinks that I am boasting, but actually I am just telling the truth. I will argue opinion, because my opinion is as valid as the next gal's and I think everyone has the right to express their own opinion, even when they are wrong. But, wen I say I don't argue unless I am right I am talking about arguments of fact. I will not waste my time or yours arguing about some fact or other unless I know what I am talking about. If I am not sur of my facts, I will say so, But, if I argue with you about what actress played what role in a movie, or what breed of dog we are looking at, etc., don't waste your breath. I am right, you are wrong, get over it. That's not arrogance, just the truth.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Dragon Software

I wrote 2,279 words today, so I gained a little (very little) on all of that lost ground. I am fairly happy with what I've written, but I know it's going to take a lot more rewriting than usual to make it good enough to make me happy. Partially that is because I am writing my first novel. I have never written any one single piece that was longer than a few thousand words. This one is close to 60,000 words, well over 10 times the previous record. It is much harder to maintain a certain narrative tone, not to mention sustain a plot, for this long. When I finish the first draft, I will go back and treat each section like a separate short story. Maybe that will help me fix the flaws of this version. The other barrier I have to writing my best is that I am dictating a large portion of my daily output with something called Dragon Naturally Speaking Software. I have it installed on my dad's laptop and I carry it in the car and I use all of that otherwise wasted commute time to get some writing done. It's not ideal, but I am not sure how much writing I would be getting done without it. It is funny when I look down and see that I have been yelling at other drivers, though. Tonight I saw this line in the middle of my paragraph, "Don't mess with me, buddy!" That is not something one of my fantasy characters would say. ;)

Anyway, tonight's tally is 2,279 words and this month so far is 6,345. I am still 6,155 words behind schedule. I better get cracking!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Meetings Galore

I spent almost the entire workday in meetings. The morning and all of lunch was taken up in a meeting with the owners and sales staff, trying to get them excited and educated about something new we have developed. Some of them got it, some didn't. It doesn't seem complicated to me, but then I've been doing this whole web thing for years. Some of them are like my dad and go online only to get their email and would prefer not to do that, either, so this is going to take a while for them to understand.

Most of the afternoon was spent teaching my HTML class. I started out a couple of months ago with eight students, and now I'm down to two. The two that are left really want to learn, so it's ok with me. I just wish I could have inspired the others. I love teaching, but maybe I'm not that good at it.

I wrote in the car on the way to and from work, so I managed to get about 1100 words done today. I am very much behind schedule. I should have 10,714 done and I'm only at 4,066. I have got to pick up the pace or I'll never make it. The story is coming along, but I just wish it would hurry up. I'm impatient to see how it all turns out.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Maverick

I had a bit of deja vu tonight. Mom called at 4:00 to tell me that Maverick had disappeared. I flashed back to Christmas Adam (the day before Christmas Eve... you know, Adam came before Eve) when I went to bring the dogs in and found Maverick in the neighbor's yard. I scolded him, he spooked and took off. He ran through the woods behind our house and I spent over an hour trying to catch him on the freeway. Eventually we had three police cars stopping traffic and trying to catch him. He eluded all of us and took off, back into the woods. I put over 100 miles on my car that night, looking for him, but he was gone.

We put up signs all over the neighborhood and looked for him late into the night, but without any luck. First thing on Christmas Eve we went looking again, putting up more signs everywhere we could. We came home to make up more signs and just before we could go back out again at 11:45, my cell phone rang. A man's voice said, "I have your dog."

Maverick had traveled about five miles down a busy street, crossing the freeway once more, to a feed store where this man found him. The guy said that he saw him at 7:30 in the morning, but Maverick was so spooked that he would not let him approach him until almost noon. Maverick's lip was bleeding, he was limping and scratched from falling on the freeway when the cops were trying to catch him and he smelled horrible.

We were ecstatic and took him with us to take down all of the signs. Everyone at every store in which we posted a sign was so thrilled that we had found our dog. But none of them were more thrilled than we were.

Anyway, when Mom called with the news that he had chewed through his rope and was gone again, all I could think was that we had used up all of our good luck the last time and maybe this time we would find him on the side of the freeway, dead, or maybe not find him at all.

Before I even hung up the phone, I had turned off my computer, grabbed my backpack and laptop and was on my way home. I didn't even stop to tell my boss I was going. I work in a really dog-friendly office, so I knew he would understand. I could not stand to lose another dog so soon after Penny. It's been less than a year since she died of old age in March. Then Tucker almost died of pneumonia and heart failure (ironically enough, that's the same combination that almost killed me five years ago).

All of the horrors of a lost dog flooded my mind and I rushed home. Before I could get all the way home, though, she called back and said she had found him. He was sitting on a neighbor's porch, probably confused about where he lives. I am beginning to think that he has a bit of senility. He is almost 13 years old and, at 65 pounds, he is not a young dog anymore. He seems happy to be home, though, and we will replace his rope with a length of chain or tie-out wire.

I don't know how much more drama I can take. I keep telling my mom that my next dog will be a ficus!

Baby Maverick

Baby Maverick


Adult Maverick

Adult Maverick

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Plotting the Ending

Writing has been moving really slowly on this book since the end of November. When I first sat down at the beginning of November and started this book, I spent almost a week plotting it out, section by section, chapter by chapter. The only problem is, I left the final third or so of the book unplotted. It just so happens that when November ended, I had gotten right to the end of the plotted portion of the book. Ever since I have been writing less and less effectively. I am not good at the jump off the cliff and see what happens kind of writing. I need to know what the major (and minor) plot developments will be, what everyone is supposed to be doing and where they are all going. Without that safety net, I don't write much at all. That's fine with short stories maybe, but with something as long as a novel, it's not happening.

This morning I sat down to write and nothing was happening. So, I went in and found my mom and we talked about the ending of the book. (Mom just called me into her room to yell at me. I had given her the four pages I wrote this weekend and she wasn't happy because I left it at a cliffhanger. Oops!) Now the book is planned all the way through the end and all I have to do is write it. Writing takes time and can be tough, but I find it infinitely easier than plotting. Characters, dialogue, setting, all of these things are fairly simple stuff. It's figuring out why they are doing what they are doing and how it all works together that I struggle with.

In other news... Harley and I went on a bike ride tonight. That dog only weighs 14 pounds or so but he can easily run faster than I can pedal. He just flies down the road, ears flapping in the breeze. I thought I would have to buy him a trailer for the bike, but now I'm thinking I'll just harness him to the bike and let him pull me.

What Fantasy Class Would I Be?


Wizard or Witch - Magic users like you are generally very quiet and intelligent. You spend most of your time by yourself studying ancient texts. In a battle, you prefer to stay away from the action, and cast your spells from a safe distance. Your power is in your magic, which you use to smite the enemy.
Take this quiz!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Books - Mine and Others

I did not make much progress on my book today. I managed about 1,000 words and I needed to do about 3-4,000 to get back on track. I will have to work harder tomorrow. I might have gotten more done, but I got sidetracked by a super cool website. It's called the Library Thing and it lets you catalog your library online. I am not using it so much to track the books I have, rather I am using it to catalog and discuss the books I have AND the books I love. I gave away thousands of books when I moved to Maryland from Las Vegas and so I have very few of the books I had been collecting for 20 years or more.

I have hundreds of new books, of course, but many of my favorites are gone. If I only listed the books I actually have, the analysis of my tastes and the site's consequent suggestions would be unfairly weighted towards the books I have bought and read in the last three years. That would leave out my favorite authors like Walter Farley, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Anne McCaffrey. I couldn't let that happen, could I? If you look to the left side of my blog you can see a list of 10 random titles from my library and click a link to see the entire catalog. As of tonight, I have over 200 books listed so far. I know it is over 200 because I had to pay $25 for a lifetime subscription when I got past the intro/free count of 200 titles. It's a pretty good deal, I think. I also ordered the cue cat scanner so I can just scan the barcodes on my books and add the ones that are physically available into my library, too. Isn't technology great? If you see a book in my list that you love, let me know. It is always so cool to find a shared love of an author, isn't it? Maybe one day my name will be showing up on a Library Thing list. That is, it might if I get back to writing tomorrow.

Library Thing Link

Friday, February 2, 2007

Giggles

For the last few years... well, more than a few, actually... I have been producing a sometimes daily ezine that I call Giggles & Grins. In fact, I have been doing this for so long that I can't be sure how long it has been, more than 9 years, I think. When I started, I had five jokes, a fun fact, a bit of trivia, a quote and some links. Somewhere along the way I started adding a little note about my day, and that soon became my favorite part. I know that most of the comments I received from my readers were about those notes. There were many times that the Giggles kept me sane, or at least not as insane as I could have been. When I lived alone and had serious depression issues, knowing that there were people out there, listening, meant everything to me. Ironically, the healthier and happier I have gotten, the less time and energy I have had to spare for the Giggles. For the last couple of years the frequency has dropped from almost daily to almost weekly, then almost monthly and now it's almost yearly.

I could blame this all on the writing, and that would be partially true. The amount of typing involved in writing 1500 to 3000 words a day, not to mention programming 8 hours a day at work, is extremely tough on my joints, back and butt. In November I spent most days with my wrists wrapped with ace bandages and Ben Gay. I can't do that and still type up all of the jokes and trivia for the Giggles. It takes about an hour a day just to type all of that in, and that doesn't include the personal notes.

The other factor, of course, is that I am just getting more and more lazy in my old age and I spend entirely too much time with TiVo and Harley and not enough time working on my other projects.

Tonight I sent a message to the Giggles folks and informed them that I have to put the Giggles on the shelf, for now. I can't say I am ready to say goodbye forever, but I know my limitations and I have definitely reached them. When the book is done, if that ever happens, I will reassess and see what I can manage. Maybe enough of my favorite readers will come to prefer this blog and I can stop typing jokes and just concentrate on writing. Or not. I know one thing, I am not very good at prediction, so I'll just wait and see how it goes.

I redesigned the look of my blog tonight, but I am ashamed to admit that I don't understand all of the CSS. That's not a good thing to have to admit when you're a web developer, but CSS and I only have a nodding acquaintance, and this is a little different from the kind of thing I normally do. I'll figure it out eventually, or my buddy, Chris, will. He's cool like that. In the meantime, I think it looks pretty good.

Book Excerpt

Here are the first two pages of my book. What do you think? Am I wasting my time?

“Milady? Pardon me, milady." Deana hurried to catch up with the townswoman crossing the otherwise deserted street. She had never visited Rakart'ver before, and she had expected to see folk running errands and taking care of business despite the early hour. Yet, other than the sleepy guard at the town gate, she had caught only glimpses of figures in the distance until now. The capital was quieter than the tiny village near her family's farm on a Sabbath morn.

At her call, the townswoman paused and allowed Deana to approach. "Yes?"

"Milady, can ye tell me how to find the Mage's Guild?"

The townswoman stepped back and pulled her shawl across her face. "Are you a mage, then?"

"Nay, milady, I hope to be, but I do not know where the Guild might be. Can ye help me?"

"You should turn and return home to your parents."

"Why do ye say such, milady? The life of a mage is an honorable one. Tis all I have e'er wanted." Deana frowned.

"Honorable, yes, but not much of a life, not now. Still, it is best if you learn of this from the Guild. Turn to your right at the next crossing and take the third left. Halfway to the next crossing, knock at the red gate. Do not forget, it is not yet too late to return home." Shaking her head, and with the shawl still covering her face, the townswoman turned and scurried off.

Deana stared after the townswoman, her flesh creeping. She thought about chasing after her and demanding an explanation, but decided against it. She was not far from the Guild and maybe the townswoman was right and she should ask her questions of the Guildmages. Shouldering her pack, she set off towards the crossing she had indicated.

With no folk there to see her gawking like the country lass that she was, she craned her neck to stare at the tall buildings she passed. Each of them was at least twice the height of her family's modest cottage. Ornate paintings surrounded every door frame and decorated the wooden shutters firmly closed over every window. Lush flowers dripped from boxes in front of most windows.

She turned right at the crossing and made the third left. The huge, red gate of the Mage's Guild shone in the early morning light. She paused outside; her head tilting back as she surveyed the immense building within. The towers and turrets rivaled those of the Duke's castle on the hill above the town.

What was she doing here? She had no business with a grand place such as this. Who was she, a simple shepherd's daughter, to think she could be a mage?
She dithered for a long moment, thinking on the townswoman's words, before lifting her hand to brush her knuckles over the red wood. No sooner had she let her hand fall to her side than the massive gate swung inward. Deana peered into the shadowy courtyard, but could see no one. She walked forward, her head swinging from side to side. The gate swung silently into place behind her.

"Greetings, Deana Trindle. Welcome to the Mage Guild." A deep voice issued from the arched doorway at the far end of the outer courtyard.

Deana tripped over her own feet, almost falling to one knee before recovering. "Mi-milord?"

A man stepped into sight. He was just over average height, not overly wide in either shoulders or waist, and his blue robes were simply cut. His brown hair and brown eyes were unremarkable. However, one look from his commanding gaze and no one could fail to recognize his status.

Deana dropped into a deep bow, her pack thumping to the flagstone path.

"Do not bow to me, Deana. I am no Lord." The Guildmage paced forward, one hand on her shoulder in welcome.

"Nay, Milord. My pardon, Milord."

He chuckled. "I am Guildmaster Tarak Shernfeld. Ye may call me Guildmaster or Tarak, tis yer choice. I am sure ye have many questions. Let us join the others in the hall and I will attempt to answer as many as I am able."

He turned to lead the way through the shadowed archway and Deana followed. She did not know much about the workings of a Guild, but surely the Guildmaster did not routinely meet new applicants to the order. Then there were those concerns the townswoman had expressed. Something odd was going on and she felt off-balance.

Beyond the archway, whose stones were etched with runes and symbols Deana did not recognize, there was a long entryway with graystone walls and a ceiling open to the floor above. Heavy oak doors lined the passageway. Guildmaster Tarak passed two of these, flinging open the third one and indicating with a short nod that Deana should precede him into the chamber before them.
Deana hesitated, and he gave her a reassuring smile. "Tis well, Deana. Ye will come to no harm in the Guild."

Thursday, February 1, 2007

50,000 words in one month

In November I participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I wrote just over 50,000 words in one month. The problem is that 50,000 words, though pretty impressive for a slacker like me, does not a complete book make. Since November I have only added 6,000 words to that total, leaving me far short of a completed novel. I'm not far from finishing the plot, but the book, as it stands now, is short, weak and sketchy.

My goal is to add another 50,000 words in February. I know, why pick the shortest month in the year? Why not? What's two days, more or less, and the sooner this is done, the sooner I can get back to the other book I have started. Then again, I have an idea to write 30 stories in 30 days, and I have to finish this book first.

So, that's how I plan to spend the next 27 days. So far I have about 800 words. That's a little behind schedule, but that's what weekends are for, right? I'll keep you up to date on my progress. Wish me luck!